Since launching Hapi Skratch Entertainment ten years ago, Morris Beegle has shaped his label into a hub that supports musicians at all levels. Celebrating a decade of operations this year, this Fort Collins-based company is one of Colorado's foremost purveyors of homegrown music. Over the years, Hapi Skratch and its three offshoot imprints have worked with a diverse array of the area's most prominent musicians in one facet or another -- be it CD production, duplication, distribution and licensing or design work and studio facilitation. At this point, it would be easier to list the artists the company hasn't worked than to compile a roster of those it's helped. Hapi anniversary, Mr. Beegle.

Saxophonist Hess has been a part of Denver-area jazz for so long that it's tempting to take him for granted. Crossed Paths, on Tapestry Records, shows how unwise that would be. The disc, which features bassist Ken Filiano, drummer Matt Wilson and trumpeter Ron Miles (another local treasure), doesn't break any new ground, but it makes spending time in familiar territory incredibly satisfying. Jazz lovers will want to cross these Paths again and again.

This past year, when DJ Quote wasn't mixing things up on the air with Troubleshooter Tom Martino, he was issuing CDs at a frenzied pace. Taking the game to a whole new level, Quote's discs have been hosted by an assortment of noteworthy guests, including MC Serch, Pitbull, DJ Cocoa Chanelle and David Banner, who will introduce Colorado to material from his forthcoming disc, Certified, via song snippets on Quote's latest mix of the same name. And the DJ (aka Quentin Jones) is building a national reputation, as well: Quote recently joined the Core DJs -- a group that lists such lauded jocks as Clinton Sparks, Green Lantern and Baka Boys as members -- and the Bum Squad DJz crew.

Cost of Living, a Denver supergroup featuring ex-members of Qualm, the Departure and Shogun, completed production on its debut in the spring of 2004. But Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead wasn't released until last month -- an excruciating eternity for the quintet's fans, many of whom have been rabid devotees of singer Justin Hackl and guitarist Ryan Welter since their days in Qualm. Why the wait? According to Hackl, the band "just wasn't ready yet." But now, with Cost of Living consistently outdrawing most touring punk bands who visit town, it's the perfect time for Trample's melodic, uncompromising assault.

As a showcase of new Colorado music, PS 2 isn't perfect. But it's closer than anyone's ever come before. Ranging from humble to heavy-hitting, the disc amply displays the passion and attention to detail that Ben De-soto and Tim Garvey of Public Service Records bring to this project -- and to the local indie scene as a whole. Everything from digital noise to folk to garage punk is represented here, and the overall flow and excellence of the selections makes PS 2 much more than just a fervently waved banner for Denver rock: It's also a great listen.

Co-founded by Rogue frontman Bill Terrell and Voodoo Productions owner Dave Zaharia, Infexious Recordz is a headbanger's nightmare sprung gloriously to life. In addition to luring national acts like L.A. Guns, Exodus and Pissing Razors to town, Infexious has showcased over a hundred of Denver's own up-and-coming metal acts -- Tyfoid Mary, Kill Syndicate, Mud Crawl and Kronow, among others. Like they say, an eightball of infexion is worth an ounce of cure.

No one has worked as hard to promote the Denver metal scene as Wayne Quigley, the man behind Big Q Productions. From frequently booking shows at the Ogden, Gothic and Bluebird theaters to putting together smaller gigs at Iliff Park and Eck's saloons, Big Q has shone the spotlight on many of the best emerging metal acts in town. Promoting bands -- particularly bands on the way up -- isn't exactly a huge moneymaking endeavor. So we can only deduce that Q is in it for the love of the music. And for that, Mr. Quigley, we give you the horns.

Ever been down to the Soiled Dove and experienced anything other than flawless sound? Yeah, didn't think so. In the extremely rare event that you did, chances are someone other than Chris Steele was sitting behind the mixing board. Although it would be easy to credit the Dove's P.A. for the outstanding sound, we all know that any system is only as good as the person operating it. In this case, that person also happens to turn knobs at the Pepsi Center when he's not at the Dove. Crank it up, Chris.

Best Nationally Renowned Producer You've Never Heard Of

Dave Otero

Tucked away in a small warehouse studio just south of downtown, producer Dave Otero has captured some of the most ferocious music ever to be recorded -- not just in Colorado, but anywhere. Anomalies, Cephalic Carnage's release for Relapse Records, was recorded at his Flatline Audio studio and is currently being heard around the country. But Otero is still relatively unknown outside of Denver's extreme-metal community. Don't be surprised if his reputation grows right alongside the Cephalic record: He's a wunderkind behind the sliders.

Producer Bob Ferbrache has been the studio ace behind many of the truly exceptional releases to emanate from the Front Range over the last decade. Working from the unlikely confines of his mother's basement in Westminster (Absinthe Studios is actually located within arm's length of a washer and dryer!), Ferbrache added to his impressive back catalogue by engineering two of the year's best albums: Consider the Birds, David Eugene Edwards's redemptive masterstroke as Wovenhand, and the self-titled stunner from Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots. Throw in some informal summer sessions with visiting members of Twinemen (the late Mark Sandman's bandmates from Morphine) and you could call Ferbrache's grandiose feat a goddamn trifecta. Bartender -- another round of wormwood!

Best Of Denver®

Best Of